Where We Live | Dupont Park in Southeast Washington

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When Shawntelle Nesmith moved to Washington from Nashville in the early 2000s to attend graduate school, there was no shortage of people — co-workers, friends, strangers even — who, she said, warned her against moving to the city’s Southeast section. (Justin T. Gellerson/For The Washington Post)

When Shawntelle Nesmith moved to Washington from Nashville in the early 2000s to attend graduate school, there was no shortage of people — co-workers, friends, strangers even — who, she said, warned her against moving to the city’s Southeast section.

Long painted with a broad brush as a crime-ridden quadrant where the real estate offerings were slim, Nesmith said she grew silent when in 2009 her agent suggested she broaden her search for a new house to include neighborhoods in Southeast.

“She said that the area was changing, but I couldn’t see it,” Nesmith said of her agent. “We were coming out of the housing bust, and she told me that if I waited too long I wouldn’t be able to afford to purchase.”

With some gentle prodding, she eventually agreed to check out the community of Dupont Park in Southeast, an established neighborhood of single-family homes nestled by a 376-acre federal park managed by the National Park Service, and couldn’t believe she’d spent years avoiding the area, she said.

“I absolutely love my neighborhood,” said Nesmith, who lives in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom rambler in Dupont Park. “I know for a fact that the neighborhood has changed because my property taxes are going up,” she said. In the nine years since she purchased her house, she said, the property has nearly doubled in value.

“I was very green to the home-buying process,” she said. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

City investment in area: Anslie Stokes Milligan, an agent with McEnearney Associates, said that as many neighborhoods in other sections of the city become increasingly unaffordable to the average buyer, communities such as Dupont Park are "getting fresh eyes put on them" because they remain, for the time being, relatively affordable.

“Dupont Park is quite lovely, and you have a variety of home styles that are constructed well,” she said. “Add to that the fact that the city is investing a ton of money in infrastructure projects and in cleaning up the Anacostia waterway,” which is helping drive interest, she said.

Chris Gambill, who moved to Dupont Park about a year ago, said that he wanted to be able to more easily commute to his job in Alexandria.

Being “conveniently located near Interstate 295” has been a plus, he said. But the discovery of just how “quiet and peaceful” his neighborhood is has been the best part about living in Dupont Park, he said.

“I have nice neighbors and I really can’t say enough positive things about the” community, said Gambill, who lives in a 2,300-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom rambler.

Kelli Lofton-Oglesby, who moved to Dupont Park six years ago, said she wanted to be close to her mother, who lives across the District line in Prince George’s County, Md. Dupont Park, she said, offered her proximity to her mother and a plethora of housing options.

After moving, Lofton-Oglesby, who has school-age children, said she discovered a few hidden gems that served as “the cherries on my ice cream sundae.”

Her 3,400-square-foot, five-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial is about two blocks from Fort Dupont Park, and she’s walking distance to an ice-skating rink and the Washington Nationals’ Youth Baseball Academy facility, which, Lofton-Oglesby said, offers programming for students at a low cost or no cost.

Dupont Park is “so convenient to everything. I love the neighborhood, and we’ve seen a lot more construction in the past several years. I am very interested in seeing how it changes.”

Living there: Dupont Park is bordered to the north by Ely Place, Minnesota Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue, to the east by Fort Davis Drive, to the south by Pennsylvania Avenue and to the west by Fairlawn Avenue and the Anacostia Freeway.

In the past 12 months, 56 properties have sold in Dupont Park, including a 537-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bathroom condominium for $120,000 and a 3,300-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom contemporary-style house for $615,000, said Milligan, the agent with McEnearney Associates.

There are six homes for sale in Dupont Park, including a 1,488-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom rowhouse for $365,000 and a 1,680-square-foot, seven-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial for $625,000, Milligan said.

Schools: Anne Beers and Randle Highlands elementary schools, John Philip Sousa Middle School and Anacostia High School.

Transit: The community is serviced by a number of Metrobus routes, such as the V1, V2, and V4 lines. Dupont Park is also less than two miles from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station on Metro’s Orange Line and the Stadium-Armory station on Metro’s Blue, Orange and Silver lines.

Crime: Since January, there have been 18 assaults, 16 robberies, 16 burglaries, and three homicides reported in the police service area that covers Dupont Park, according to D.C. police.